I’m done reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but I need to do my writeup. I am planning 2 blog posts for that. Maybe more if I feel like expounding more. Today, I want to talk about Scrivener, though.
I heard of Scrivener when I did NaNoWriMo in 2009. It looked interesting, but as it was only for Mac, I couldn’t do anything with it. I may be in IT, but I haven’t been able to justify getting a Mac yet.
Then, as NaNo 2010 was gearing up, I heard that there was a Windows Beta starting. Great! Except that I do most of my writing on a Dell Mini 9 netbook with Ubuntu Linux. As NaNo progressed, I noticed that they had a Linux version! Great! But I didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to get it to work during NaNo, so I waited till afterwords. As I look back on it, I wish I had noticed that Linux port from the start. Its features make it a lot easier to work in for writing, as compared to Word or OpenOffice.
A Scrivener project is not just a single file, it is a group of files which are organized into folders and files. It’s very similar to how a computer is organized, or even your file cabinet at home/work. I have a folder for Characters, Ideas, etc. Then in each folder, I have a file for each character. So, as I’m writing, if I realize that I need some information about a character, I don’t have to find the file, or tab over to it. I can click on the file in the Binder on the side, and pull it up. Or, split the working screen and open it in one while I keep writing in the other.
Right now I’m working on a timeline and other world building, and finding that it’s really nice to Import web pages describing the cycles of the sun and moon as well as other different types of calendars. Now I don’t have to go to Wikipedia all the time. I just have to click on it.
The timeline is a different beast. There are no good tools for something like that built in. I have seen a program for the Mac that people talk about on the forums. But again, I’m on PC. So I’ve made folders for each year before the start of the story, and I’m putting in notes on what happened. Not the best, but it works.
One con that I have. While you can import documents, it seems like you can’t import files saved in the Open Document format: files from OpenOffice. Either that, or I’ve completely missed something. Like I said, I use Linux for the majority of my writing, and thus have to use something other than Microsoft Office. I have been using OpenOffice, and because of that, all my files are in that format. But, that isn’t going to stop me from using it.
The Windows Beta journey is nearing the end. The last beta was just released yesterday, which means the next stop is a final release. I’ve only touched on the cool stuff you can do. Toss in keywords, grouping documents into Collections, Corkboard and Outline modes, and much more.
So, go check out the Windows version here. Or you can go here for the Mac version and more information about the product as a whole.
Hi Brian, it’s interesting to read about people’s experience of Scrivener. Importing Open Office ODT document is missing – only a cut and paste of text works. Exporting to Open Office though should be no problem. Happy writing – Lee
Well, it’s no deal breaker for me. You guys have been doing a great job. I look forward to the end product.
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